NRL 2024: Ronald Volkman released by Dragons, New Zealand Warriors, shoulder injury, controversy, reaction, Cameron George, news

Warriors CEO Cameron George has absolved the club of any blame in the Ronald Volkman fiasco, after the promising playmaker was left without a contract after being released by the St George-Illawarra Dragons.

Volkman requested, and was granted, a release from his Warriors contract two years early to sign a one-year deal with the Dragons – an arrangement that was in the works late last month.

However, Volkman is now left without a club after the Dragons let go the 21-year-old citing a medical that revealed he would need season-ending shoulder surgery from a pre-existing injury.

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As the contract hadn’t been officially registered with the NRL, the Dragons wiped their hands clean of Volkman and gave him his marching orders.

Unfortunately for Volkman, his manager signed a deed of termination with the Warriors on Christmas Eve, meaning he is unable to return to his former club.

Volkman’s career is now in limbo, with no contract and a serious shoulder injury that requires surgery before he can see the field again.

George defended the way the Warriors handled the situation in an interview with the SMH.

“That’s due diligence I would’ve thought a club would take before agreeing to sign someone,” George said.

“We agreed with Ronald’s management that he’d be released immediately. We contributed financially to his release and it was up to his management to negotiate a contract with another club.

“Whatever the conditions were for him to go to another club is irrelevant to us. Since that release, it was noted that he trained with them.”

As George alluded to, the Warriors paid Volkman a considerable part of the final two years of his deal, so the playmaker hasn’t been completely left in the lurch.

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Now, the focus shifts towards the actions of the Dragons, who announced Volkman’s signing on social media on January 3.

With what has since come to light, that was an unusual move, as Volkman hadn’t undergone his medical with the club yet nor had his contract been registered with the NRL.

As per the SMH, the Warriors did send the Dragons a medical report of Volkman’s shoulder, which read that the 21-year-old had “shoulder irritation” but had completed off-season training “pre-Christmas”.

Volkman appeared in three games for the Warriors’ NRL side in 2023, and 22 for their NSW Cup team but had reportedly suffered a contact injury on December 12 according to the medical report.

In Volkman’s first training session with the Red V, the Dragons medical staff were concerned when he was unable to complete basic drills, even struggling to pass a ball.

A closer look at Volkman’s right shoulder revealed it “felt like chocolate”, a troubling discovery, and that two screws had been displaced.

Dragons CEO Ryan Webb defended the club for how they approached the matter and letting an unregistered Volkman train.

“As part of the medical assessment, he participated in restricted training,” Webb told the SMH.

“He presented on the Thursday, the medical team assessed him, he did some modified training, which was a continuation of that medical assessment, and the red flags got stronger.”

Originally published as ‘Red flags’: Blame game erupts injured player wiped from the NRL

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